Postoperative Instructions: Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy

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Postoperative Instructions: Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy

Immediate Postoperative Care

  1. Pain Management:
    • You will be prescribed pain medications to manage discomfort. It’s important to take these as directed.
    • Ice packs can be applied externally on the jaw area to help reduce swelling and pain. Do not apply ice directly to the skin; use a cloth barrier.
  2. Diet:
    • Start with a liquid diet immediately after surgery. Gradually progress to soft foods as recommended by your surgeon.
    • Avoid chewy, hard, or crunchy foods until your surgeon advises that it is safe to resume normal eating.
  3. Oral Hygiene:
    • Good oral hygiene is essential for preventing infection.
    • Rinse your mouth with salt water or an antiseptic mouthwash as prescribed to keep the surgical area clean.
    • Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush, avoiding surgical sites in the early days.
  4. Activity:
    • Rest is crucial in the first few days post-surgery. Avoid any strenuous activities and exercise.
    • Keep your head elevated with pillows when lying down to help reduce swelling.

Follow-Up Care

  1. Follow-up Appointments:
    • Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon. These are critical to monitor your healing and to address any potential issues early.
    • Sutures may need to be removed, or their status assessed if they are dissolvable.
  2. Medications:
    • Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection. It’s important to complete the full course as prescribed.
    • Continue using pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications as directed.

Monitoring and Managing Complications

  1. Swelling and Bruising:
    • Swelling is expected but should start to decrease after the first few days. Persistent or increasing swelling should be reported to your surgeon.
    • Bruising may also occur and typically resolves within a few weeks.
  2. Numbness:
    • Some degree of numbness in the lower lip and chin is common due to nerve manipulation during surgery. This usually diminishes over weeks to months but should be monitored.
  3. Infection Signs:
    • Watch for signs of infection, including increased pain, redness, swelling, or discharge from the surgical sites. Fever and chills are also signs that require immediate medical attention.
  4. Diet Progression:
    • Follow the dietary progression plan provided by your surgeon. Typically, patients move from liquids to soft foods, and eventually back to more normal textures as healing progresses.

Long-Term Care

  1. Orthodontic Care:
    • If braces or other orthodontic appliances were part of the treatment plan, follow all orthodontic instructions carefully.
    • Regular visits to the orthodontist will be necessary to adjust the appliances and ensure teeth are moving into their correct positions.
  2. Permanent Changes in Sensation:
    • Discuss any long-lasting changes in sensation with your surgeon. Ongoing management or further assessment may be required.
  3. Physical Therapy:
    • Some patients may benefit from physical therapy to help restore normal jaw function and movement.


Recovery from a Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy requires careful attention to instructions provided by your surgical team. Regular medical follow-ups, diligent self-care at home, and adherence to dietary and activity recommendations are key to a successful recovery. If you have any questions or concerns during your recovery, do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider.